'Shocked' Osaka wins Australian Open to become world number one

How To Watch Osaka vs Kvitova Live Stream Online - Australian Open Women's Singles Final

That Osaka was able to defeat the greatest player in the history of the game in her home Slam last September and backup that performance with a gutsy win over a two-time Wimbledon champ speaks as loudly about Osaka's mental toughness as it does about her magic trick of a forehand.

None of us saw that outcome when Osaka held three championship points at 5-3 in the second set.

Osaka was born in Japan - her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian - and she moved to NY at age 3.

That allowed Kvitova to come back and make a match of it, reeling off five games in a row to take the second set and go up 1-0 in the third.

But Asia's new sporting superstar regained her cool to take the deciding set, the match, the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and the $4.1 million winner's cheque after two hours and 27 minutes.

Yet there was nothing to dampen Osaka's celebrations on this occasion, after she extended her winning streak at the highest level to 14 matches and became the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to follow up her first slam success by winning the next major. She won 76 percent of her first serves, and on second serves that number dropped down to 50 percent.

But she couldn't produce a third escape act in the pulsating Australian Open women's singles final on Saturday night, a decider to live long in the memory. But definitely she's playing great game.

Osaka, who refused to hold a press conference prior to the final, started well on serve but had to defend a break point when leading 3-2.

"To be playing against one of the best players in the world, to lose a set, suddenly think that I'm so much better than her, that that isn't a possibility".

There was speculation Osaka couldn't let herself enjoy the moment, still kicking herself that she nearly let the match slip through her fingers in her second set meltdown.

Then came Osaka's second chance to serve out the match, and three more championship points. Her candid demeanor, easygoing personality and blistering tennis transcend the old ways of stodgy tennis federations and players spouting corporate jargon in lieu of authenticity. Slammed a ball. Tugged at her visor's pink brim. Osaka, unable to keep her emotions in check, double faulted the set away.

Coming into Saturday's clash, Kvitova had lost just seven out of 33 career finals and was unbeaten in her last eight. After that display of power tennis, a simple, chipper "hello" would need to suffice for the millions of fans watching worldwide. "I had to regroup and told myself I didn't want any regrets".

For a while she was confident being alone, she remembered, until one day she left the locker room at a tennis club in Prague and told her support crew "yeah, it was a good one today that I really felt OK". "I can't really act entitled", Osaka said.

The Czech star was all class even as tears appeared in her eyes when thanking the team that has stuck with her in her comeback from two years ago.

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